Today, British experimental rockers Black Midi start their 2022 North American tour in support of their last album, Cavalcade. To celebrate, the band have returned with three new cover songs packed into a brand new EP entitled Cavalcovers.
The covers originated with an online fan vote that occurred before the release of Cavalcade last year. The band recorded five covers and distributed them through bespoke limited flexis that came with pre-orders of the album. Bootlegs of the covers have been spreading around the internet since that time, and now three of those covers are seeing an official release.
The first cover is the most understandable for anybody who has listened to Black Midi before: Captain Beefheart‘s ‘Moonlight on Vermont’, the final track from side one of the legendary LP Trout Mask Replica. The discordant tones and disjointed rhythms perfectly fit Black MIDI’s more chaotic jazz side, while the replication of Beeheart’s unnerving vocals is eerily spot-on. Despite being the least well-known song of the three covers, taking on Captain Beefheart is right in Black MIDI’s wheelhouse.
The second cover is by far the most unexpected. Armed with an indie-rock arrangement and a saxophone line from collaborator Kaidi Akinnibi straight out of the 1980s, the band do a completely straight version of Taylor Swift‘s twee country hit ‘Love Song’. On an EP that comes complete with Captain Beefheart and King Crimson covers, somehow it’s the Taylor Swift song that is the most bizarre and eyebrow-raising. There’s no winking or tongue-in-cheek piss take elements to the cover either – when the band members proclaim their fandom for Swift, it feels genuine.
Finally, a version of King Crimson‘s ’21st Century Schizoid Man’ rounds out the EP on an appropriately wonky and spacey note. Featuring lead vocals from all the members, the band’s take on King Crimson is another relatively straightforward take on a classic song. Everything from the original, including the frantic ‘Mirrors’ instrumental bridge, remains intact.
Nothing on the new EP is particularly transcendent, but it’s a fun diversion to see a band indulge in some of their influences. Check out the covers down below.